The Chopper. The Real Story.

The-ChopperDo you really know the story of the Chopper? In this new book, leading vintage motorcycle expert Paul d’Orléans, a.k.a. Vintagent, provides insight into the origins of the chopper, the start of the custom movement to its today’s renaissance, giving a shout-out to legendary builders and dispelling a few myths surrounding this icon of counterculture. With its well-informed texts and showcase of historical and contemporary photographs, this book finally gives the chopper the respectful attention it deserves. Believe or not, the real and full story of the Chopper movement has never been told, until now… You can pre-order this book with delivery in about 2 weeks (a wonderful Christmas gift…) Hardcover, 288 pages.  $48.65. Order on Amazon at: .

16 Responses to “The Chopper. The Real Story.”

  1. 1 Oct 2nd, 2014 at 9:00 am

    More books on motorcycles!

  2. 2 ColoradoKid Oct 2nd, 2014 at 9:01 am

    And yet another gem from Mr Paul D’Orleans . Read his background story on the book to see what a challenge it was to get those involved to talk about the history of the Chopper . A spoiler ? He was threatened on more than one occasion in the process of his inquiries

  3. 3 Rodent Oct 2nd, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Kind of pricy, will wait for B & N to have it in remanders.

  4. 4 JohnJ Texas Oct 2nd, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Always good to know some history… and YES, more books on motorcycles.

  5. 5 ColoradoKid Oct 2nd, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Its not ‘ pricey ‘ … its ‘ Quality ‘ . There is a difference and one you’d be well advised to come to grips with much sooner than later . Also in light of the limited numbers to be printed … a snowball has a better chance of surviving in a blast furnace than this book ever finding its way to the discount shelves . e.g You snooze [ on this one ] You lose ! 😉

  6. 6 James just another crazy Kiwi Oct 2nd, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    I bought “The Ride” It is a very well written and thought out book. (edited by a Kiwi )

    If this is of the same quality it will be a must buy ! I will be getting a copy !

    Been collecting MotorCycle books most of my life and since the demise of the fat arse billet queens there has been an increase in the quality of the books being published………..funny that

    I want to get a copy of the book on the Brooklyn Invitational show but can never find a reliable link, can some one help me with this please ?

  7. 7 nicker Oct 2nd, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Lets hope he puts the “suicide-shift” stupidity to bed once and for all……….. 🙂


  8. 8 Oct 2nd, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Paul provided many of the highlights for “The Ride,” so I’m looking forward to seeing this new volume.

    Regarding the price, yes — Gestalten books are more expensive than most other books. They spend more on research, design and printing than most other publishers, and their print runs are smaller too. And production costs are higher in Germany than in Asia.

    As with most things in life, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. And when it comes to motorcycle history and quality of writing, Paul is the 400 lb gorilla!

  9. 9 Lon Nordbye Oct 3rd, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Paul has proven to be a highly-entertaining authority with all his works. I’m sure the new book is no exception. It’s been so fun getting to know Paul while hosting the exhibition he co-curates with Micheal Lichter at the Buffalo Chip. Paul’s warm heart, genuine personality and expertise make him one of the best individuals to catalog the history of our industry. Congrats Paul! Can’t wait to read the new book 🙂

  10. 10 Oct 4th, 2014 at 7:51 am

    I can go back only as far as the early 60’s. But the first choppers I saw and helped build were OEM bikes off the showroom floor with every part removed that didn’t make it faster or did not have the look the owner wanted. This included cutting of fenders and hammering out new seats.
    The addition of custom parts morphed the chopper into a new category hence the term chopper gone the way of the Jockey shift. I’ll have to buy the book to find out the real story. ..Z

  11. 11 BCinSoCal Oct 4th, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Bolting a handle on a rachet lid does not make a suicide shift. Can’t anyone ride a jockey lid anymore?

  12. 12 Oct 4th, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Kudos to Mr d’Orléans, a.k.a. Vintagent, for doing his research & writing it down
    Yes, the chopper came from a LOT of different sources, some of them known, some of them not so much. There was a lot of misinformation due to the times, location, racism, cover-ups & stolen ideas.
    (A black guy on a chopper with a white chick on the back in 1964, I LOVE It ) !!!!!
    Glad to see some of the info come out & seeing the light of day

  13. 13 Cisco Oct 6th, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Amazon has this book for $46.65 available now.

  14. 14 JZ Oct 6th, 2014 at 9:57 am

    A serious book on this subject is long overdue and will be worth every penny. A book by P d’O published by Gestalten means a book of quality content, design and materials. It will surely not disappoint.

    Well done, Vintagent.

  15. 15 nicker Oct 9th, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Groan, here we go again.

    “… rachet lid does not make a suicide shift. …”

    Back when hand-shifting became obsolete foot-shift ratchet-top boxes were the preferred upgrade.
    Converting a perfectly good foot shift scooter back to hand shift would have made no sense at all.
    Today using a hand lever to shift a ratchet top isn’t really doing anything “retro” or “heroic” because with a ratchet top one doesn’t actually have to “find” the gear…. it’s a simple slap shift.
    In either case there is no “suicide” involved.

    So lets go over this one more time……
    Nothing makes a “suicide shift”… its a term propagated by the uninformed.
    This is a very simple proposition. Listen up…..

    A hand shifting can be mounted to the tank (hence a “tank shift”).
    A short lever can be mounted off the top of the tyranny, that requires grabbing it behind your leg like a jock using a riding crop on a horse (hence “jockey shift”).

    A foot actuated clutch that rocks back and fourth, over-centering in either the engaged or disengaged position is a “rocker clutch”…..

    A foot clutch that is spring loaded and must be held down to stay in the disengaged position is a sport clutch. I can recall seeing a parts catalog (HD?) with such an item called by that name.
    Probably because in a racing application operating a rocker clutches is simply too slow.

    Conversely, in a street application if your off balance and your foot slips off the sport clutch your well tuned 74 will walk you right out into oncoming traffic (hence “suicide clutch”).

    Fairly simple stuff really……


  16. 16 Jan 4th, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    I’ve never had the nerve to try to stand up while riding…Brave!

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